Italians love bottled water. Those San Pellegrino lifestyle ads are true, even if you don’t always have a group of good-looking young people lingering over a plate of spaghetti, “living in Italian” almost always means bottled water on the table.
The Italian’s amore for water places them among the highest consumers of H20 in bottiglia on the planet — it’s an estimated 3.2 billion euro ($4.8 billion) a year business — and you really do find shoppers scrutinizing the vast water section at the supermarket (Is this good for the liver? Low in sodium?) that many of these spring waters claim.
Since the tap water’s just fine, officials have often tried to get Italians to kick the habit. One recent example: a free fountain supply of mineral water (fizzy and straight) from taps in public parks.
It’s a tough concept to swallow, since many of these waters come from centuries-old sources — known as long for their health benefits — and do taste better.
Just a few weeks ago, as many of us were chipmunking Carnival treats, Don Gianni Fazzini made an emotional appeal to his parishioners: give up bottled water for Lent.
It’s a timely idea — and certainly easier than “carbon fasting” or simply giving up chocolate or wine — but he was asking for a pretty big sacrifice.
Fazzini’s parish is in Mestre, aka the terra firma Cinderella to Venice. Neither the waters in Venice or Mestre — one of the most polluted, industrial areas of Italy — really inspire much faith in tap water.
Just think about how much plastic waste you won’t create, he urged, reminding them of Naple’s trash nightmare.
Families who hold their noses and gulp are asked to donate the money they would’ve spent on water to a humanitarian project in Thailand, perhaps the good cause will keep them at it until Easter.